ICA: Flay vs Smith
The new Iron Chef: America scheduled for January 31 could be called Battle: TV chefs as one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs takes on Iron Chef Bobby Flay. While Flay is no stranger to American viewing audiences, Michael Smith is.
Only the fourth chef from north of the border to venture into Kitchen Stadium, Smith, however, is not on foreign soil. A native New Yorker he is a ’91 graduate of the famed Culinary Institute of America. Chef Smith had cooked all over the world before landing at the legendary Inn at Bay Fortune on Prince Edward Island in 1992. Soon the Inn was listed as one of Canada’s top 10 restaurants and Smith’s devotion to local, organic ingredients was the main factor.
Six years later TV came calling. The Inn Chef premiered on Canada’s the Life Network. But Chef Smith did not give up the daily restaurant grind. In 1999 he opened his own place, Maple, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. By 2001 the Inn Chef had moved over to Food Network (Canada) where it won best Variety/Music/Cooking Show in TV GUIDE Canada ’s Reader Poll. Other programs soon followed like Chef Abroad, Chef at Home and Chef at Large . The Inn Chef is still a prime time favorite.
These days Smith spends little time squeezing his 6 foot 7 inch frame into tiny commercial kitchens opting instead to concentrate on life as a cheflebrity. One of Smith’s more recent endeavors is the show Chef Abroad where he entertains “by taking viewers around the world and behind the scenes with an all-access back stage pass into the fast-paced hidden world of chefs, cooks and cuisine that most of us only get to dream about.”
But on one episode the adventure became all to real. On November 26, 2008 the People’s Alliance for Democracy seized Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok just as Smith and his film crew were returning from a filming in Northern Thailand. The act resulted in the vicious murder of a 60-year-old man and the toppling of the freely elected government. Smith and crew escaped unharmed.
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UPDATE: Final score from ICA: Flay vs Smith was 54-40 in favor of Iron Chef Flay.